Graduating BFA students showcase their art (part three)

A preview of what creations you can expect to see at the BFA Grad Exhibition

Twelve students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program are gearing up for their final showcase at Thompson Rivers University. For the next three weeks, The Omega will feature graduating students. The BFA graduating students exhibition will open at 7 p.m. on April 21 and will run until May 5 in the Old Main art gallery.

See also:
Part 1 featuring Stephen Hsiao, Ana Bayona, Amanda Duggan, Nadine Arnott
Part 2 featuring Levi Glass, Anyssa Gill, Dion Fortie and Garnet Dirksen

Alex Jensen

“My body of work for the final show revolves around this sort of obsessive analysis of anime and my relationship to it, so it has a lot of these scenes that are recreated from anime with photography,” Jensen said.

Jensen’s series of photographs also looks at the motifs that are created with various anime series.

“I have a series that just looks at clouds and telephone polls, sort of in the same way that animes draw attention to these small details,” Jensen said.

His main piece for this exhibit and the one that started his interest in the project is called “Sad Anime Fan.” He says that the rest of his work revolves around that particular piece.

“It’s creating a view into this internalized sort of obsessive world and giving a glimpse to the viewer of this other mode of viewing,” Jensen said.

Jensen says that these themes stemmed from a photo gallery that he did a year and a half ago and that he wanted to continue expanding on those ideas.

“Working from anime or popular culture is something that’s really interesting now and my preferred mode of working,” Jensen said.

Jensen adds that not everyone will understand the metaphors in his work, but he hopes to make a deeper connection with those that do and believes his work is at least aesthetically pleasing to look at for those who don’t.

“I’m not sure that’s it’s so important that everyone gets that it’s anime, but it’s making those connections with the people that do realize it,” Jensen said.

After grad, Jensen plans to apply for shows and artist residencies and eventually go for a master’s degree.

“I’ve always enjoyed being creative and making things, ever since high school and earlier. So, I was playing around with the idea of doing fashion design or fashion marketing,” Jensen said.

Kelsey Jules

Jules is one of twelve perspective BFA grads and says that she didn’t even expect to graduate from high school, let alone graduate from university.

“Coming from high school to university was a really big transition in itself. It really opened the door for me to experiment with how I was feeling,” Jules said.

Jules says that before making her artwork, she really has to get into the right mindset in order to take an abstract idea and make it into reality.

“Art in itself was a creative outlet for me for a lot of different reasons. So, it was going from wondering how I deal with my emotions and how I deal with my feeling, to ‘I can channel my energy into making really cool stuff,’” Jules said.

She will be focusing her exhibition piece on a topic that is extremely important to Canada’s history and one that carries a heavy weight for many Canadians.

“My final exhibit is showcasing the residential schools and I’m doing research with people my age and how they feel about the residential school, how it impacts them and how they can realize that impact. Instead of letting it hold us down, having it enlighten us and how we can change things to have a brighter and better future,” Jules said.

She hopes to not only send a message of healing for those impacted by the residential schools but also find a way to grow.

“Setting stepping stones for other generations to follow that route, because it’s a really good way of thinking about things that have happened in the past and how we can continually change from them,” Jules said.

Culture is an ever-growing and changing thing. Jules says that you shouldn’t generalize a single group of people together because everyone is an individual.

“It’s part of my history, it’s part of who I am. It’s just one way of using all of those emotions and feelings that I get from them and all of the experience that I’ve had with it,” Jules said.

Jules hopes to continue her research regarding residential schools in her graduate studies.

Sarah Wood

“I’m doing a series of paintings to kind of reflect my family history or my family relationships. I’ve come from a broken family, so it’s a way to express that and using different ways to show the relationships. I’m using floral patterns and stuff to represent my family,” Wood said.

Wood says that she is inspired by the personal and intimate inner workings of her family bonds. She says that it’s also very relatable because a lot of families fill the same clichés.

“For me, it feels kind of like a therapy, it’s nice to just look within and talk to my family and see where the relationships are at. I do believe that in every family there’s always like the black sheep, there’s part of the family that maybe people don’t like,” Wood said.

Even though many families do have certain clichés that they fill, Wood adds that everyone’s family is different and so are the relationships within the family.

“Even though it is my personal experiences that I’m putting through my artwork, it can be personal for other people because they can think about their own family,” Wood said.

Wood adds that not everyone in her family knows about the message of her artwork just yet.

“They don’t exactly know, I’ve talked to my sister a little bit about it. There is definitely some negative connections in my family, so it’s going to be really interesting to see what they see,” Wood said.

After her days at TRU are over, Wood hopes to attend the West Kootenay Teaching Program in Nelson for a one year program to get her bachelor of education degree.

“Since I was little I always planned to be an art teacher. I have always been a drawer and I have always been a doodler, I’ve just constantly just painted. I love art so I thought becoming an art teacher would be a great opportunity for me,” Wood said.

Paolino Caputo

Caputo is a big part of the TRU community, due to his participation and push for LGBTQ rights on campus. His involvement in the community, along with his passion for activism, are prevalent in his artwork. Caputo adds that he is mainly interested in queer and feminist activism and that they have helped him develop an art practice.

“I sort of investigate my own relationship with my gender and what that means to me, navigating through the world as a queer person,” Caputo said.

For the exhibition, Caputo has created and been working on a persona named Magnolienne for about a year now.

“She serves as a bit of a role-playing character for me that I’m able to use as a surrogate for myself. She also seems to have become the sort of concept, the ideal genderless but still very feminine character. My work involves me both performing and creating environments around Magnolienne,” Caputo said.

Along with the embodiment of Magnolienne, Caputo plans to create a retro-future space bar.
“[It] is going to be a space where people are invited in to relax, take their time, investigate and seek Magnolienne with me,” Caputo said.

He adds that when he first entered the BFA program his intention was to pursue game design, and it’s still a passion of his.

“It was sort of an interest in synthesizing my interest in game design with my art practice and queer theory. I wanted to somehow integrate these role-playing ideas that I investigated through my research over the summer and continue to push forward these ideas of stretching boundaries through embodying someone else. So, Magnolienne naturally came out of that and eventually she kind of got a life of her own,” Caputo said.

Caputo hopes his work will reinvigorate hope in people and that people will be able to look at their own relationships more intimately even with a past that is tainted by negative information. He hopes that it will help people to further expand their worldview and the way they look at life.

“I want people to take away a more optimistic view of the future. So, that why I aimed at a retro-future bar because I wanted to invoke the queer bars of the ‘60s but also a moment in time where future developments seemed much broader and the whole world was opening up for people. Things were expanding, we were entering into a utopia rather than the dystopia we are faced with now,” Caputo said.

After grad Caputo hopes to get a job that will allow him to have a prominent role in the Kamloops community.

Photography by Juan Cabrejo